When I was thirteen years old, I was certain that if you wanted to be taken seriously in this life, you should probably wear little wire-rimmed glasses, carry a book in your hand at all times, and know how to speak authoritatively about the classics—that you must be able to quote lines of poetry and reference scenes from Shakespeare in any given situation.
Now, the first two were easy for me. After nearly squinting myself to death, my seventh grade pre-algebra teacher finally suggested that perhaps I was due for some glasses. And as it happens, I’d been carrying a book at all times since Amelia Bedelia. But the third task was a bit more daunting. I mean, classics? Seriously? As far as I knew, the only people who actually read that stuff were old people and…older old people (and Mom—but at the time, I thought she was old, too). So, being the ambitious type that I was, I picked up GONE WITH THE WIND. And read it in a week. And then I read it again. But not long after that, I discovered romance novels, and as far as classics went, that was pretty much THE END.
Until JANE EYRE.
(And Wuthering Heights, but mentioning two books diminishes the impact of the sentence, no?)
Over the course of the next year, I probably read JANE EYRE, oh…10 times? 2o times? I’m not sure exactly. I totally lost track. For some reason, I felt connected to Jane. I don’t know why. And Mr. Rochester? Swoonalicious. I loved the romance, the mystery, the phases of Jane’s life, the romance, the romance, the romance. My word, I love that book. So you can imagine how I must have felt when I discovered that a modern retelling of JANE EYRE was going to be released. I’m telling you, I could hardly breathe. When the ARC of JANE arrived at my house, I danced around my kitchen in a very ugly, embarrassing way.
So yeah, I had some majorly high expectations for this book. Especially when I discovered that Mr. Rochester had been transformed into a rock star. Holy crap, that’s awesome.
Goodreads description: Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, an iconic rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer, and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance. But there's a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane's much-envied relationship with Nico is tested by a torturous secret from his past.
Part irresistible romance and part darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
The thing about knowing JANE EYRE as well as I do is that I didn’t really expect a lot of surprises in reading JANE. A part of me was also very, very worried I’d end up having to burn the book in a tragic bonfire if it screwed with the integrity of the original (Think: “We Are The World”—not everything should be remade, people.). But as it turns out, I was being a moron.
While JANE followed the basic premise of JANE EYRE with characters comparable to their original counterparts, the new story had such a modern, original feel to it with a wholly revamped plot. I mean, how could it not when Mr. Rochester is actually Nico Rathburn, a sexpot rock star? The setting is no longer Victorian England, but the American East Coast (and partly set in a rock and roll world). Jane is no longer a governess, but a bright 19-year-old college drop-out nanny with a penchant for sticking her foot in it. And let me just say, without the restrictions of a delicately sensible Victorian society, the same romance transforms into something way hotter. But the essence of that romance? The passion? The love? Still the same. And that’s why I adored JANE.
Now, do you have to read JANE EYRE to enjoy JANE? Nope. Ultimately, the characters felt really fresh and original, especially compared to what’s out there in young adult fiction today. For one thing, the main character is nineteen—at the upper range of YA, but how refreshing. I think it’s about time we begin to see more YA books with college-aged protags and more mature voices (this is not to say the characters in JANE always made mature choices). I loved that Jane and Nico weren’t these angelic, gorgeous beings with nonstop confidence and over the top snark (love that, too, but variety is spicy—or something like that). But, do I think my love of JANE EYRE influenced my newfound affection for JANE? Possibly. I’ll never know for sure. But I know this much: JANE would hold its own as a contemporary YA romance even if JANE EYRE had never been written. JANE is a well-written, romantic breath of fresh YA air.
JANE will be released October 2010.
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